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'We’re not a bulletproof town’: Texas county with no coronavirus cases prepares for viral impact

Ranchland, oil, and a strong sense of community are historic fanfare in McMullen County. The latest boasting right is being coronavirus-free.

SAN ANTONIO — The population density in McMullen County may be its titanium shield from the coronavirus. But even the one the strongest metals in the world has a weakness. 

The same may be true of the county 70 miles south of San Antonio.

“We’re an old, old community---old ranching community with a lot of people that have been here multiple generations,” Judge James Teal said.

Teal is the McMullen County judge. He said the population is 800 people who live in a county with 800,00 acres.

“The population density in McMullen County is a lot different than Bexar County,” Teal said.

According to the three-term county judge,  the same applies to counties that surround his. 450 people live in Tilden, the county seat. No one is mandated to wear masks in public.

The county is exempt from Governor Greg Abbott’s pre-Fourth of July order requiring counties with 20 plus cases of the COVID-19 to wear masks in public. No viral impact. No masks.

Teal said he will wear one though if needed or requested.

Mizra Bazan and Sierra Salazar described the community as truly family-oriented.

“Everybody knows everybody or somebody is related to somebody somehow,” Salazar said.

But health officials said the coronavirus will permeate family bubbles too. The residents are certain there may come a day when their perfect record will be shattered.

“We’re not a bulletproof town,” Bazan said. “All you can do is take precautions.”